Smarter meters to arrive in 2011

It is smarter than the electricity meter on your house right now. And Georgia Power will be giving you one in 2011.

The $254 million project calls for replacing all business and residential meters with a Smart Meter that communicates wirelessly to Georgia Power, not only reporting the monthly usage but also signalling when the power is out and when it has been restored.

It means the demise of the meter man, but that's a good thing, said Georgia Power spokeswoman Carol Boatright.

"All of this cuts down on having a field service representative out driving, which will not only cut down on mileage but also pollution from all those vehicles being on the road," Ms. Boatright said. She said the field representatives will be getting other jobs within the company.

Meters will be installed in phases, she said. Eastern Georgia will get them January through April 2011.

Southern Co., which runs Georgia Power, is putting the meters in all four states it serves. So far, 1 million have been installed, and there are 3.4 million more to go. The company is installing 4,500 meters a day.

When the technology is in place, Ms. Boatright said, the meter will be able to help customers manage power consumption by telling them their usage during high-demand times of the day.

Reach Tim Rausch at (706) 823-3352 or timothy.rausch@augustachronicle.com.

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